To you, my weary friend

The word “weary” has been spinning around my head recently. “I think I’d consider myself weary,” I think to myself. Sparing the unnecessary details, my life has dealt with far less than this. When it rains, it pours, as they say. I seem to be practicing anxiety-breaking breathing exercises more than just actually breathing like a normal human being. Yes, my life is filled with numerous blessings; a family who loves me, jobs that provide, a new car, the list goes on. But it’s like God’s favorite words are, “But wait! There’s more!” Except, there isn’t a brand new TV behind the curtain, it’s bad-news-Betty.

I say all of this to bring to you the idea of weariness. The dictionary defines weariness as this:

wea·ri·ness ˈwirēnəs

noun

1.

extreme tiredness; fatigue.

“he began to feel weariness”

2.

reluctance to see or experience any more of something.

“hardship at home produced war-weariness”

This looks a little different than “tired” or even “exhausted”. In Matthew 11:28 it says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” That other word, burdened, is what takes the cake for me. Weary and burdened seem to flow together. When you feel weary, it’s probably because you feel burdened.

In Luke chapter 10, there is a teeny-tiny little story about two sisters named Martha and Mary. They lived together in Martha’s house in a village that I can only assume was the Bible time version of Belle’s provincial town. Well, before their very eyes, Jesus came knocking on the door of their humble, abode. This is the guy that everyone was talking about, the one that had these amazing stories to tell and could do some serious healing and he was wiping his sandals on their welcome mat. I like to think that Martha had that, “Dang it, and I just burned my last Bath and Body Works candle, now the house won’t smell like a woodland forest” moments. Mary on the other hand, she led him in to their house and listened. Sitting at the tired feet of Jesus, she left her burdens at the door and listened. As Martha rushed, Mary rested.

“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’

‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed — or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” Luke 10: 40-42

Weary and burdened with preparing her home to be fit for the King of Kings, Martha forgot that he was also sitting in her living room. He was waiting to tell her about how she was worth much more than the burdens on her back, but she was too busy carrying them to hear. Funny how the Bible and the dictionary can directly correlate sometimes.

I relate to Martha like a lot. Weighed down with the burdens of life, I can grow distracted and weary, unable to even process anything going on in the world around me. Blessings become blurry and happiness flees as I trudge up the mountain of life, breathlessly singing Miley Cyrus’ The Climb.

This life is made for so much more. God created burdens so that when we grow weary (when, not if, because you will grow weary), we turn to him. He created us with limits so that he can be limitless. He made us grow tired so he can provide rest. While your burdens are a part of your story, they are not meant to be carried alone. It’s like a refrigerator box. You know, it has that little picture on the side of the two stick-figure men carrying the box together (lifting with the knees, of course). It’d label you a bonafide Hulk if I met someone who could carry a refrigerator by themselves. There are things are are just made to be carried by more than one person because it’s just too heavy.

So, weary friend, give your burdens to God so you can sit at his feet and listen. Don’t let your blessings flee because you’re too weary. Be gracious and thankful that he is the one who created you for such a time as this. He knows you, he knows your burdens, he is ready to give you rest.

P.S. Also you should listen to this song if you’re feeling rather weary and also appreciate David Crowder. 

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The One About Words

I love words. I love the way they look, all neatly organized into sentences. I love the way 26 letters can be formed in such a way to enlighten, inspire, and uplift. I love how powerful words are. I hardly hear of anyone walking around with broken bones due to sticks and stones, but I’ve seen and heard broken hearts because of a few choice words. I love that sometimes the most powerful of words are the simplest ones; “I love you”, “you are important”, “you’re beautiful”, “thank you” and sometimes even “I have food.”

We use words ask questions, write emails, sing songs, and tell stories on a daily basis. We read menus and send text messages. We write words into clever Instagram captions and giggle through the punch line of corny joke. We take notes in class and make to-do lists at home. With these mundane, everyday word-uses how many words do you think you use a day? I’m a babbler and also a story-teller – aka I must use A LOT of words. If my day had a word cap, I would probably be mute by noon every day.  What about you?

Let’s dive deeper into that – how many of the words you use are intentional? How many of them did you MEAN to use? How many of them do you tend to regret? If your day did in fact have a cap would there be any words that maybe wouldn’t make the cut? What if we had to live our daily lives actually thinking and mulling over every single word we could say or write – which would stay and which would go? It seems a little redundant to be saying such things while writing a word-y article but just like everything on my blog – just go with it.

The Little Mermaid’s starring crab, Sebastian, says it best, “The human world, it’s a mess.” He’s a crab but he’s right. It’s so easy to get caught up in our messy lives and forget that the words we are saying to ourselves and each other are so important. If our first words are so important, then why aren’t the rest of them?

Jesus spoke on this as well – duh. He became frustrated with the way of the world. Pharisees where doing what they do, questioning Jesus and His ways (sidenote: if I met Jesus today, would I question His ways? Or just go with it? Food for thought.). “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” (Matthew 15: 2) I might be asking that question too but that’s coming from a girl who has a small collection of Bath and Body Works hand sanitizer but I digress.

Jesus, after what I would assume to be the equivalent of a Bible-times face-palm, continues to essentially bring the conversation away from worldly things like the washing of one’s hands and to more important, heavenly things; the use of words. The Pharisees were more deeply concerned with the idea that unwashed hands + food = spoiled health. Jesus, per the usual, was more concerned that they were concerned about that over their heavenly reputation. He goes on to explain; “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts – murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but each with unwashed hands does not defile them.” (Matthew 15:17-20)

Believe it or not, unwashed hands goes under the “things of this world” category in Jesus’ eyes according to this scripture. While we are concerned about germs and undercooked food, Jesus is up in heaven like, “Um, I already guaranteed you eternal life up here with me!! Why don’t you try and preserve that instead of your fleeting, earthly life!! HELLO!” Evil thoughts defile our hearts and build a wall between us and God, unwashed hands just give us the sniffles.

Our time on here on earth is so short. To us, it’s all we’ve got here but to Jesus, we have so much more waiting for us. It’s so easy to worry about the things of this world but we have to ultimately choose – are we going to worry and think about the fleeing things on earth or prioritize and preserve that which get us closer to heaven?

Jesus was so intentional with His words. I like to think that he carefully chose his words so that as they got passed around the world for years and years to come, they would always hold the same meaning. I also like to imagine the people he had in mind when he chose his words, told his parables, and preached on the daily. I feel like when he thought about his father in heaven, he was encouraged to speak intentionally but when he thought about the people of this world and the world to come, he was intentional times 1,000.

So, friends, be intentional today; with your thoughts and your words. Words can build bridges or walls, which are your words building? Make important what is WORTH making important. Don’t treat your words like they aren’t worth it, because they are. Don’t be so blinded by earthly worries that you become deaf to your future in heaven. Your words hold the power to do great things, so go do great things.

God knows I need a little bit of this, too.

To: you

Hey ladies, this one is for you. This is for all of you who flip through Instagram, click through snapchats, or scroll down Facebook; this is for all of you who are stuck in the comparison trap. You see, I got myself stuck in the comparison trap just yesterday. I was scrolling through Instagram, a chocolate chip cookie in one hand and my phone in the other, admiring all my pretty friends in pretty bikinis on pretty beaches on their pretty awesome spring breaks. I looked down at my own body, realizing that the cookie in my hand certainly wasn’t my first and it was the only thing I had really eaten that day, besides the chicken salad sandwich that was my lunch. Needless to day, my couch potato body was not the same as any of their bikini bodies.

I was stuck. Officially stuck. As I refreshed my page, I felt myself getting stuck-er (so stuck I have to make up a word for emphasis). I was mad that they were so much skinner than I, that they were so confident in themselves that they flaunted it. I was jealous; first because of the previous explanations and second that I was playing couch potato while they were in tropical places. I was sad, I didn’t feel like could ever be as pretty as them. If that’s not stuck, I don’t know what is.

So what did I do next? I realized I was certainly not the only one thinking and feeling these things. I realized that, while these feelings feel real and viable, they are lies. Then I realized that maybe, just maybe there might be someone else out there that might feel like these feelings are real but don’t know that they are lies. So here I am, freshly unstuck from the comparison trap, hoping to maybe help someone else get unstuck.

First off, let’s decipher the lies from the truth. Lie: You are not skinny enough, pretty enough, fit enough. Truth: You are enough. See Luke 12:6-7. Literally in the Bible, Luke tells us that sparrows are basically sold in bulk for two pennies, yet God sees and knows each of them. That’s like Costco seeing, naming, and knowing each and every one of the paper towel rolls that is sold from their stores. It’s crazy to think about. The verse goes on to say that not only are the hairs on your head literally numbered, you are worth more than many sparrows. So, yeah, you’re more than enough. Lie: My weight determines who I am and who I’ll be and who will want to be with me. Truth: Weight is literally just a number. You’ll have a different number on Mars and a different one on the moon and an even different-er one on Jupiter. See 1 Samuel 16:7. You could go anywhere and that number could change, but who you are will no change whether you are in this world or another. Who you are determines your future, not the number on the scale.

So, you know the truth. You are enough. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (check Psalm 139:14 ). What’s next? Here are a few simple things that have helped me get unstuck.

  1. Surround yourself with truth. If you’re like me, you’ll crack open that Bible of yours and soak in the truth. Or put on some praise music and get lost in some of that beauty. Whatever floats your boat, do it. Don’t let lies become truth. Run after the truth, even when your stuck (I know—that sounds a bit redundant, just go with it).
  2. Compliment someone. The minute you scroll through the gram and find yourself getting trapped, compliment someone. Comment something uplifting, slide into those DMs, double tap the heck out of those cute photos. Don’t get jealous, get compliment-y.
  3. Remember who you are (sounds like a Disney reference, right?). My mom has always told me this, “it’s about who you are, not what     you know.” This extends to this pesky body thing. It’s about who you are, not what your weight is. It’s about who you are, not what your size is. It’s about who you are, not how on fleek your eyebrows are. It’s about who you are, not [insert pointless, comparison trap lie here].

“Then Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?’” (Luke 12:22-26). I seriously imagine Jesus with a pair of sick Ray Bans, dropping a gold mic as he walks away from his speechless disciples. If this passage doesn’t sum up literally everything, I don’t know what does. 

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are more than enough. You are loved, cherished, and adored by the Father. You are more than your jean size or the number on the scale. If God knows every sparrow that is sold and takes care of the ravens, why would he not value and care for you? Your precious self is worth everything to him. While he just spoke light and dark into existence, commanded trees to grow and animals to roam, he created you. He didn’t just speak you into existence, he knitted you together. He knows you by name, has numbered the hairs on your head, knows every beat of your heart. There is no such thing as an unworthy person under the blinding and beautiful love of a worthy God.